Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare Essay

‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds’ (sonnet 116) by William Shakespeare (1609)

This poem is called ‘let me not to the marriage of true minds’ and it’s written by William Shakespeare. It was first published in 1609. This sonnet is one of Shakespeare’s most famous love sonnets.

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright. He is often called England’s national poet and the ‘Bard of Avon’. His surviving work consists of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, 2 long narrative poems and several other poems, but he is most known for his plays, such as Hamlet, Othello and Macbeth, and for his sonnets. He lived from 1564 until 1616. He was born and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon, but he later moved to London with his wife Anne Hathaway, who was 8 years older than Shakespeare and pregnant when they married. They had three children; Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career as an actor, writer and part owner of a playing company.

He produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, but he then started to write tragedies, including plays like Othello and Macbeth, which are considered some of the finest work in English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies (romances) and collaborated with other playwrights. Although he was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, his reputation didn’t rise to its present heights until the 19th century. His work remains highly popular today and he is considered to be the greatest writer in the English language. His plays are translated into every language and are constantly studied and performed.

This sonnet is about love in its most ideal form; never ending, fading or faltering. It attemps to define love, by telling both what it is and what it’s not. In the first line it speaks about ‘marriage of true minds’, which refers to the love between two people who are like-minded rather than to an actual ceremonial marriage. The first quatrain says that true love is unchanging, strong and that is doesn’t change even when though people and circumstances may change. In the second quatrain love is compared to the North Star, which never moves in the sky and guides lost ships home, meaning that true love will survive any crisis.

This metaphorical star is mysterious and incomprehensible, even though we can chart its location. This means that love’s actual worth can’t be known and that even though we may be able to measure love to some degree, we’ll never be able to fully understand it. The third quatrain tells that love isn’t susceptible to time and mortality, even when youth and beauty disappear. It doesn’t change as the days go by, it remains strong until the lovers death. In the last couplet the poet stakes his own reputation on this definition, declaring that if his idea of true love can be proven wrong, he must take back all of his writings. Furthermore, he adds that if he has in fact jugded love inappropiately, than nobody, as far as the poet is concerned, has ever loved at all.

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I think the meaning of this poem is that love cannot be true if it can be changed by any reasons. It’s supposed to be constant and not susceptible to time. It doesn’t fade but instead lasts forever.

Personally I really like this poem. He praises lovers who enter a relationship based on understanding and trust between them. I totally agree with this, I think understanding and trusting each other are really one of the most important things in a relationship. Since I haven’t had that much life experience yet, I obviously can’t judge his idea about love, but if I ever truly fall in love, I hope that it’ll be like the way Shakespeare describes it in this sonnet. Also, I think the tone of this sonnet is very honest and passionate, which makes it more relatable. It’s not very complex, but in my opinion a poem doesn’t have to be complex to be good.

This sonnet is particular for the time it was written in. In Elizabethan England—the era during which Shakespeare’s sonnets were written—the sonnet was the form of choice for lyric poets, particularly lyric poets seeking to engage with traditional themes of love and romance. The Shakespearean sonnet, the form of sonnet utilized throughout Shakespeare’s sequence, is divided into four parts. The first three parts are each four lines long, and are known as quatrains, rhymed ABAB; the fourth part is called the couplet, and is rhymed CC. The Shakespearean sonnet is often used to develop a sequence of metaphors or ideas, one in each quatrain, while the couplet offers either a summary or a new take on the preceding images or ideas.

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Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare Essay

This is how a 21st century love story goes: Boy meets girl. Two days after that, the boy tells her the 3 “magical” words…”I love you”… hold on, here’s the funny part. She believes him. People nowadays don’t value love. They don’t understand that the word “love” isn’t just a 4 letter word… It’s way beyond that. This is what William Shakespeare is trying to clarify in his Sonnet 116. He wants to expound what love is, & what it isn’t. Using a couple of metaphors, Shakespeare’s main aim is to elucidate the theme that real love is immortal, consistent and certainly not under the mercy of time. Shakespeare starts off sonnet 116 by saying that true love overcomes impediments and doesn’t get affected by the changes in the surrounding. Following that, he compares true love to a Lighthouse. How are the following related? Well, a lighthouse, as well all know, guides ships and at the same time, overcomes all of the storms & tempests, at the same time, love as well guides couples and lost hearts to the right track and is able to overcome all the adversities it might encounter.

Furthermore, Shakespeare continues with the metaphors saying “It is the star to every wandering bark”. Here, Shakespeare is comparing love to a star. Long time ago, people used to depend on “stars” as a source of guidance since compasses back then didn’t exist. Yet again, love is being compared to a star that leads the way for lost hearts. Lost hearts, blind eyes, love guides them all. In addition, Shakespeare stresses on the idea that love isn’t for time wasting or entertainment. Love isn’t restricted within a limited time, hence why Shakespeare describes what love is not: it is not susceptible to time. Priceless, consistent, immortal, permanent, this is what true love is all about in the eyes of Shakespeare. He definitely gives a clear description about what love is through the metaphors he included that contributed to his main clarification.

Sonnet 116 revolves around a single theme, one that Shakespeare firmly believes in. In this cruel, twisted, tumultuous, and confusing world, there is only one constant force; Love. Shakespeare focuses on the idea that love isn’t temporary and does not fade with youth. Beauty disappears, youth fades; however, love endures till the afterlife. All the metaphors that Shakespeare included in this sonnet contributed to the theme that love is immortal. If one finds changes in the loved one, it must NOT affect love; otherwise, it wouldn’t be true love after all. What Shakespeare is basically saying is simply, love is constant, immortal, and consistent and overcomes impediments.

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If it doesn’t fall under the following description, then it isn’t true love. To sum up, Shakespeare writes this poem in hope of clarifying the idea that love isn’t all about beauty, youth or price. It is priceless and isn’t under the clemency of time. The metaphors in sonnet 116 contribute in reaching a main theme, and that is what Shakespeare’s main aim is. It doesn’t matter how old you get, it doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are, it doesn’t matter how pretty or false you are because once you’re in love, all of these won’t matter anymore. I definitely agree on Shakespeare’s definition of true love for nowadays I believe it’s rare to find. With fingers crossed, I hope people would read this poem with a notepad in their hand to take notes and value love for its true meaning instead of overusing it.

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